When I first found out that some trees are called dogwood trees, I thought it was only natural that there should be trees that are specially named in honor of dogs. But then I did some research on the internet, and I was shocked to learn that some people believe dogwoods were not named for dogs at all! Of course, Mom says you can't believe everything you read on the internet, but I think it wouldn't be there if it weren't true. After all, my blog is on the internet, and everything in it is absolutely and completely true.
But anyway, back to dogwoods. In the spring, they bloom, and some are white, and some are pink. But do you know what? Those white and pink parts that I thought were petals of the flowers are not petals at all! They're called "bracts," and they're not really flowers. The flower part is that little yellow stuff in the middle of the bracts. This is the same deal as with another kind of flower that is called a poinsettia, which also has bracts. The important thing to remember about poinsettias is that dogs shouldn't eat them because they are poisonous! As far as I know, dogwoods are not poisonous, but it's probably still a good idea not to eat them.
Well, okay, so here's how the dogwood got its name. Or how it might have got its name, because nobody knows absolutely for sure. There was this Middle English word, dagge, and it meant "a pointy thing that hangs down." This is the word that we now call "dagger" in modern English, because a dagger is a pointy thing, and if you wear it in your belt, it hangs down. So the theory is that the wood from this particular tree was used to make pointy things like daggers or skewers or arrows or tool handles. And the reason this tree was used was because it had really hard wood, which is a good quality to have if you are going to stab somebody with a wooden dagger. So the tree was originally a dagwood tree, which should not be confused with a dagwood sandwich, because that's something different (and yummier!).
Anyway, that's one theory. But there's another one that really does involve dogs and not dags. This theory says that the bark of the dogwood tree was used to make a concoction to bathe dogs in to get rid of mange. But some people researched this and they couldn't really prove it. So this theory may be a false one.
Here's what we know for sure about dogwood trees:
1. They are the state tree of Missouri.
2. They are very pretty when they bloom in the spring.
3. They are very ordinary-looking after they finish blooming.
4. They have pretty berries in the fall.
5. They are good for boy dogs to pee on.
We used to have a dogwood tree in our back yard, but then it died. The reason it died was because we had a really bad freeze one year in April, and lots of stuff died. Our dogwood tree died and so did our Japanese maple and so did our dappled willow. Mom cut down our dogwood tree and got an ash tree instead. My brothers tell me that ash trees are also good for boy dogs to pee on, so I guess it's a good thing we have one.